Mobile and Manufactured Home Titles Explained

October 30, 2023

Today’s modern, manufactured homes are constructed from the same materials as site-built homes. However, they're titled like a vehicle. That's a good thing.

Today’s spacious, modern manufactured homes come from the factory with a document called Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin, or MCO.  Manufactured homes have a VIN number, like a car, which is a good thing that we’ll discuss later.  A double-wide mobile or manufactured home has the letters “AB” at the end of the serial number to show there are two sections.

When you purchase a manufactured home for sale, the dealer converts the MCO to a “title.”  In Iowa, this is done at each county’s Department of Motor Vehicles.  At Hames-The Homes People®, the cost of obtaining a title is included with your purchase, We handle this paperwork for you. 

If you borrowed money to purchase your mobile or manufactured home for sale from Hames Homes, a lien is recorded by the county treasurer on the title.  The title is then sent to the bank/lender until the mortgage is paid off. 

If you own your home outright, the title will be sent to you and you should keep the title in a safe place.

The title shows the current owner(s) of the mobile or manufactured home, previous owner(s), manufacturer, square footage, color, and year.  Any time ownership is transferred the title MUST be moved from one party to another to avoid tax problems and legal issues.

Note: For multiple owners, it’s important to distinguish “and” or “or”. 

·         If the title says “and”, ALL owners must sign the back of the title to sell it. 

·         If the title says “or” any of the listed owners may sell the home or transfer the title.

Even though mobile and manufactured homes are built with the same building materials as site-built homes (according to a rigorous federal standard), it’s advantageous that they’re “titled” instead of deeded like real estate for two reasons:

1.       Abstract searches, deed warranties, and other ownership transfer requirements for real estate takes weeks or months and can cost thousands of dollars.  Mobile homes are considered personal property so transferring the title costs $25, plus $10 to record a lien, and can be done in a few days.

2.       Property tax on a 1200-square foot mobile home in a land-lease community in Iowa is no more than is $240 per year.[i]  Property tax on an average $185,000 site-built home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa is about $3589 per year[ii]

If you’re looking for a quality, affordable and low-maintenance manufactured home, visit Hames Homes sales office at the corner of Wilson Ave. and West Post Rd. SW in Cedar Rapids.  You can also view our view our large inventory of homes for sale online.  Financing is available to qualified buyers through knowledgable lenders or with our in-house bank, Circle Finance LLC NMLS#366020.


[i] Property tax on the land itself is paid by the landlord and is included in your monthly home site rent.


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